TAMPA, Fla. (April 9, 2013) — Goalkeeper Andrew Fontein and and newcomer Amani Walker have very different responsibilities for the Rowdies. Fontein’s job is to keep the ball out of the net while center forward Amani Walker is meant to score goals. Although they don’t share positions, the two Rowdies’ players have history together as they played together collegiately at UC Irvine.
When asked about his past with Walker, Fontein responded, “It was really fun playing with Amani in college. He is a great forward and a big target. I often looked for him when taking my goal kicks and punts because I expected him to win the ball in the air.”
He continued to speak on Walker and their experiences now that they have been reunited at the Rowdies. “Obviously now the environment is similar since were on the training field nearly everyday together again. Many of the guys on the team live in the same complex or near each other, which is very similar to college. I’m excited to play with Amani again since it’s nice to have a big target up top.”
Amani Walker spoke on arriving to the Rowdies and also playing with Fontein. “It’s nice to see a familiar face when you first come to a new team, especially when it’s a fellow teammate from college.”
He followed up by explaining the chemistry between them. “Even though he’s a goalkeeper and I’m a forward, I still understand what he wants to do and he knows what I want. Since we have had that previous experience playing together, it allows for us to connect better both on and off the field. “
With the season opener in the rear-view mirror, the Rowdies teammates look forward to another complete season together. Walker said, “We hope to have a good start in the Spring Season and then move on to a successful Fall Season. The way that it’s formatted now, second place isn’t good enough. We have to fight every week for a win as we hope to keep accumulating as many points as possible.”
Fontein followed up by saying, “Our main goal is to win both halves of the season in order to better our chances at winning the championship. It would be nice to get the new guys on the team a ring as we hope to retain the championship and be the first team in the NASL to win back-to-back championships.”
The Rowdies will continue their quest to defend the NASL Soccer Bowl title next week, when they travel to play the 2012 regular season champions San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday, April 13. The game will be the first-ever NASL match played in the Scorpions’ newly built 8,500-seat soccer-specific stadium, Toyota Field.